The Buccaneers suffered another defeat on Sunday, losing to the Broncos 27-7 and dropping to 1-3 in a start that hasn’t done much to suggest the team will take a step up after five straight losing seasons.
The chances of turning that around won’t be helped by the absence of defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, but the Bucs have to find a way forward all the same. McCoy left the Denver game with a calf injury and coach Dirk Koetter said on Monday that McCoy’s absence could extend through at least next Monday’s game against the Panthers.
“We don’t know exactly as I stand up here right now, but there’s a chance and obviously when you lose a player like Gerald for any amount of time it hurts,” Koetter said, via the Tampa Bay Times. “Usually he’s going to draw a double team. With that said, Clinton McDonald stepped up and had his best game of the year. I also felt like Will Gholston had his best game of the year. Somebody needs to rise up anytime a guy is down and I thought those two guys did that.”
The need to step up may extend beyond McCoy’s spot. Defensive end Noah Spence left with a shoulder injury and defensive end Robert Ayers has missed the last two games with an ankle injury.
Whether Cam Newton is ready to go or not, missing all three would leave the remaining Bucs defensive linemen with a lot to do in the matchup between 1-3 NFC South teams.